02 April 2014, Benin – Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo on Tuesday criticised the arbitrary energy tariff and fixed charge by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
Oshiomhole said in Benin at a tripartite meeting between the government, civil society groups and management of BEDC that the charges were “exploitative”.
He said that irrespective of who generates tariff or distribute energy, the fixed tariff and estimated charges by the BEDC was “irresponsible and exploitative” to consumers.
The governor said that the essence of privatisation was for an increase in entrepreneurial efficiency.
He said: “You (BEDC) will recall that the first day I formally receive you in my office, I made some factual statement that the essence of privatisation was the increase in entrepreneurial efficiency.
“I think l also mentioned that now that the Federal Government had hands off NEPA or PHCN, it was incumbent that you improve on your service delivery to consumers, failure of which would spark revolt.
“This is exactly what is happening today,’’ he said.
Oshiomhole said that the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) could not operate in chain process by collecting money for services not rendered.
The governor noted that as someone elected by the people to represent their interest, he could not be silent on issues involving exploitation by any company.
He urged the management of BEDC to invite officials of NERC to his office within two weeks for further deliberations.
The governor also directed the company to stop the disconnection of consumers in the interim.
Earlier, Mr Kaduna Eboigbodion and Mr Olu Martins, representing the civil society groups, said that BEDC collects a fixed charge of N750 per prepaid meter monthly whether there was electricity or not.
They noted that some consumers who paid for prepaid meters in the last four years were yet to get the meters.
The Managing Director of BEDC, Mrs Funke Oshibodu, said that fixed charge was like a chain revolving from generation to distribution.
Oshibodu stressed that as a distribution company, BEDC only collects tariff on behalf of generation and transmission companies linked to NERC.
She, however, appealed to Edo consumers to exercise patient with the company as efforts were on to improve on the present status. (NAN)
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